Posted on 14. Aug, 2012 in News

Critically ill Victorians are waiting longer for an ambulance because the Baillieu Government has not been able to fill shifts across metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.

The Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Health, Wade Noonan, said documents obtained under Freedom of Information revealed that 3,042 shifts were left unfilled by Ambulance Victoria in 2011, including 1,559 shifts in Melbourne and 1,483 shifts in regional Victoria.

“Before the last election, the Baillieu Government said Victorians deserve the highest quality ambulance services and have the right to expect timely responses during emergencies,” Mr Noonan said.

“However, now in Government, ambulances are sitting idle because Ted Baillieu can’t organise paramedics to fill shifts.

“Last year, more than eight ambulances a day across Victoria were left out of service due to a lack of staff availability.”

Mr Noonan said the problem of unfilled shifts had an impact on ambulance response times across both Melbourne and Victoria.

“This year’s budget papers confirmed that the proportion of life-threatening incidents responded to within 15 minutes across the state was expected to be just 74.7 per cent for the 2011-12 period, more than 10 per cent lower than the Baillieu Government’s own target,” Mr Noonan said.

“It doesn’t matter whether you live in metropolitan Melbourne or regional Victoria, the fact is one in four ambulances are failing to respond to life-threatening emergencies within 15 minutes.

“The problem of unfilled shifts is being caused by a range of factors, including excessive overtime and shift extensions, resourcing constraints, absenteeism and high levels of fatigue.

“Our ambulance paramedics do a great job under extreme pressure, but at the moment they are being stretched to the limit.”

FOI Data – ‘Unable to Fill’ shifts for 2011

Region Unfilled Shifts Metropolitan Melbourne 1,559 Barwon South West 154 Grampians 257 Loddon Mallee 307 Hume 252 Gippsland 513 Total 3,042 Note: According to Ambulance Victoria, the data is provided where there is no capability to respond, i.e. On a 2 person shift, both persons were absent and a single officer was absent on a single crew shift.

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